Foundations of Computational Mathematics

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 589–616 | Cite as

Representation Theoretic Patterns in Three-Dimensional Cryo-Electron Microscopy II—The Class Averaging Problem



In this paper we study the formal algebraic structure underlying the intrinsic classification algorithm, recently introduced in Singer et al. (SIAM J. Imaging Sci. 2011, accepted), for classifying noisy projection images of similar viewing directions in three-dimensional cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). This preliminary classification is of fundamental importance in determining the three-dimensional structure of macromolecules from cryo-EM images. Inspecting this algebraic structure we obtain a conceptual explanation for the admissibility (correctness) of the algorithm and a proof of its numerical stability. The proof relies on studying the spectral properties of an integral operator of geometric origin on the two-dimensional sphere, called the localized parallel transport operator. Along the way, we continue to develop the representation theoretic set-up for three-dimensional cryo-EM that was initiated in Hadani and Singer (Ann. Math. 2010, accepted).


Representation theory Differential geometry Spectral theory Optimization theory Mathematical biology 3D cryo-electron microscopy 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)



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© SFoCM 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and PACMPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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